Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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Jury Nixes $15 Million Negligence Claim

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - A Madison County jury cleared the City of Alton in a $15 million claim of negligence and personal injuries. The city's attorney called it a "very simple case about a man who ran a stop sign."

Matthew Adelsbach claimed Alton negligently posted a two-way stop rather than a four-way stop at East 20th and Alby Streets.

Adelsbach suffered near-fatal injuries and was in a coma for 31 days after his vehicle was hit by John Calvin Riddlespriger in 2003.

Adelsbach's attorney asked the jury for $15,279,614 in damages during closing arguments of the weeklong trial.

Alton's attorney Charles Pierce argued that Adelsbach had not exercised proper caution while driving. Pierce described the case to reporters as a "very simple case about a man who ran a stop sign."

The jury sided with Alton.

"You're obviously responsible for your own actions," jury foreman Jay Wackerly told the Madison County Record after the trial. "Everything cuts down to what's reasonable. He was at fault. He was not looking."

Riddlespriger, who was uninsured and unlicensed, fled the scene. He was charged with failing to report an accident and leaving the scene. He filed an appearance in the case, but has since disappeared.

"He has extensive criminal history," Pierce told the Record. "We didn't anticipate him jumping up and cooperating at trial. The city has money, and Riddlespriger would be uncollectible."

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